Dating after Divorce – Preparing for the new stage in your life

Are you ready to move on from your divorce and start dating again? Psychotherapist Hilda Burke shares with EliteSingles her advice on putting the past behind you and starting a new chapter in your life.

Getting a divorce is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through. So, it’s no wonder that you may be nervous to re-enter the intimidating world of dating. Hilda’s advice is here to help you feel ready to start dating after divorce.

Let go of the past

Going through a divorce is a serious and emotionally draining experience that can be hard to move on from even for the toughest of divorcees.

Hilda advises that, “the only way to move forward from any traumatic event is to let go of the past.” However, she does not mean by 'letting go' to forget, to try and mentally erase the past. Rather, to let go is to understand what has happened and to accept it as something you have been through in part of your life. Only then will you be able to focus on the present and on dating after divorce.

READ MORE: Hilda’s advice on how to stop comparing yourself to others and their relationships

Forgive yourself

"Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom." - Hannah Arendt

One of the first steps to letting go of your past relationship is to not punish yourself for what went wrong in the marriage to cause it to come to an end.

Hilda recognises that, “Letting go of a marriage invariably involves forgiveness.” She believes that first and foremost you need to forgive yourself. “How many of us beat ourselves up following a break-up about what we did/didn’t do, what we should have done etc? Many people who are going through a divorce may blame themselves for deciding to get married or even for having been in the relationship in the first place. This is fruitless. It’s destructive and keeps us locked in a space where we’re avoiding what’s really going on.”

Hilda believes that many divorcees do this to avoid letting go of the past relationship and to not submit to the grief following a break-up. Before you start dating after divorce, time is needed to grieve and to reassess who you are, what has happened and what you now want to do.

READ MORE: Interested in meeting mature singles? Try mature dating with EliteSingles.

Forgive your ex-partner

The second step, which may be more difficult, is to forgive your ex-partner. Hilda understands that, “this may sound like a step too far for many who are feeling raw and abandoned or betrayed.” It is not an easy step to make. However, “it is crucial if you are ever to move on, heal and allow for the possibility of meeting someone else.”

To let go of the hurt you have suffered in your marriage and through the divorce, you will need to truly forgive your ex-partner which Hilda defines as to, “nullify the debt you feel they owe you.”

In failing to do this, “the heartbreak and resentment is simply carted around like excess baggage to our next relationship or marriage. In order to genuinely move forward and create a new type of relationship, we need to learn from our past relationship experiences, of which there is no starker one than divorce.”

READ MORE: Hilda Burke's advice for widow dating and moving on from a loss.

Keep your head up

Whilst you will need to take responsibility for the choices and decisions you’ve made, it is important to remember that a failed relationship is not an indicator of future relationship failures. You should commend yourself for being brave enough to leave an unhappy relationship and for having the courage to actively start rebuilding the life you want to live.

When you’ve come to terms with the past and are ready to embrace life after divorce with exuberance and optimism, it’s time to get dating again. Register with EliteSingles to meet exciting singles you are truly compatible with.

READ MORE: Are you over 50 and interested in dating? Read EliteSingles tips here.

EliteSingles editorial February 2016

If you have any questions or advice on dating after divorce, then please comment below or email us at editorial@elitesingles.co.uk

About Hilda Burke

Hilda Burke is a West-London based integrative psychotherapist, who has been working with clients on a broad range of issues, including bereavement, infertility, addiction, abuse and depression for four years.

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